Door prize will be this autographed, 406 page book on Tennessee gardening
Using our 1st and 3rd schedule it should be our "social" but we have had two of those in a row for different reasons so what about a regular one where we can get back to more gardening talk? This also brings to light the flaws in our attempt to develop a workable schedule. It ain't workin' like we thought.
My tomatoes are FINALLY starting to ripen, very begrudgingly. The Blueberry tomatoes were first but very brief (so far), then Black Cherry, which are not very black but really good to eat. Then came a few Blush, another sweet, low acid taste. Tiny red cherries are the biggest producer right now. They are the size of marble and occasionally large marbles.
I just brought in a Chocolate Stripe that someone was starting to sample. It is hard to tell if it was ripe but I figured if it was good enough to start sampling that it was close to ripening, and "they" did not need anymore.
The yard-long beans are going wild now. Within two days they are small, then BIG! I used to think they were too big but one of our garden club members said they cooked up Southern style just fine so we steamed, then put in a casserole and they were great! I harvested them all and froze a few pounds.
I wish I could take credit for doing something intentional to have my yellow squash still putting out like crazy. After all, I am supposed to know what I am doing but this year has been phenomenal. Maybe all the wood chips and mulch that has been in the garden for a few years finally kick in, but why were the squash bugs and borers so lenient with me?
It is said that healthy plants are not as interesting to insects as weak plants so that could be part of it. I policed them pretty hard early in the year so maybe there was a reduced presence from our cold winter and my policing made a difference? Last year, I could not keep up.
The end result was not only a continuing harvest but I had to trim and cut back the plants on almost a weekly basis so they did not smother other plants and I could have room to talk. Maybe the trimming helped in some way as well?
With the success of yellow squash I would expect knock out year for the bitter melon but that is not the case. The plants are growing fine but I am apparently not getting any female flowers. None have formed yet.
I would normally look at my garden very closely to see if it was something unique but we found out that many of our Chinese friends are having the same problem . That implies it is something bigger than our back yards.
We probably got our seeds from different sources but do they all come from a mega-grower and was there an issue on this level? I am not reading any widespread issues with the bitter melon, so that is probably not it.
Was the environment on Bedford County unique in some way? It was a cooler than normal spring but I planted late so mine would not have been affected that way. While it was hot muggy lately, I don't think it has been unusual from last year.
It has been drier than other years here on our hill but others have had the rain so it was probably not that. Our plants have not been stressed and are flowering, just not with females, or at least none that I see.
While bitter melon is not a major vegetable for us, my mother-in-law loves to give them away to our friends so I keep getting asked, "No foo gwa"?" My garden success seems withered without foo gwa. BUT, I still have two months to go, so it ain't over yet.